The 21st-century American association faces a host of serious engagement challenges. Membership at many organizations has stagnated or decreased as professionals find the products, services, and experiences they seek elsewhere. Increasing competition from related nonprofits and corporations siphons off dollars that normally would have flowed to the association. Members look for personalized, high-touch relationships that associations aren’t well-equipped to deliver, and the variety of platforms that members use (and expect an association to use) has only increased. In short, the familiar association business model—membership dollars topped off with nondues revenue from education, networking, and publications -is increasingly obsolete.
And yet, there is little research in the association community about the structure of an effective new engagement model for US American members and non-member customers.
The AEI is designed to answer those questions.
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